Numbers are thrown around

a lot in government. A million

here, a million there Ö $65,000

paid for this study or that


We are desensitized to the big

numbers, like a kid playing too

many violent video games. Weíve

seen it before, weíve heard it

before and it just doesnít hurt as

much as it used to.

Perhaps that is the theory

behind the decision of our county

commissioners to not even

consider a million dollarís worth

of free property in East Milton

for a judicial site/courthouse. Itís

not even on the list of proposed


Itís not very prestigious, you

know, building in East Milton. It

would present a better showing

to outsiders if they could buzz

down the interstate, make a

single turn and be there in a few


Oh. Wait. That is true for

Highway 90 in East Milton and

Avalon Boulevard.

Though Avalon does present

a straight shot up from the south

end of the county, people who

choose to go that way are going

to be forced to pay a toll on the

Garcon Point Bridge.

People who take State Road

87 from Navarre also have a

straight shot up a northbound

corridor to the East Milton site,

but without a toll.

Avalon Boulevard traffi c is

already heavy. It took so many

years for the widening of that

road to begin, this county almost

outgrew it before construction

started. Adding courthouse

traffi c to that area will benefi t no

one. Because the primary paths

for travel to Pensacola from Pace

are Highway 90, westbound or

south on Avalon to the interstate,

those roads already see a lot of

traffi c. Adding a judicial center

ó and the traffi c it will bring

ó simply does not make sense.

By comparison, placing the

judicial center near the jail

in East Milton keeps traffi c

involving inmates from even

entering Milton or using

Highway 90 to pass through busy

areas between downtown and

Avalon Boulevard.

Inmates going from the

jail to a judicial center built

on Avalon could be taken onto

the interstate and then north

on Avalon, but again, that just

increases the traffi c load of

people heading into Milton or

Pace from Interstate 10 ó and

for those who live there.

Two of the county

commissioners have a personal

interest in the development

of Avalon Boulevard and have

recused themselves from

discussion. That is all well and

good, but the truth is, a judicial

center/courthouse built at a

location along Avalon is likely to

increase property values.

It is really East Milton that

needs to see that happen. We

have romanced businesses to

come to our Industrial Park; our

county fair is there; and now a

new East Milton Agricultural

Center is having its grand

opening. Itís good enough for

all of that activity but not for a


This is free property valued

at a million dollars. It is located

at a site that has just as many

positives as an Avalon Boulevard


Itís really a no-brainer.